Govt depts go online, share info on Weibo

Updated: 2011-11-18 07:16

By Cao Yin (China Daily)

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BEIJING - People who want to have a better idea of what the Beijing government is doing now have a more convenient and swift way at their disposal - visiting an online information room.

Information from the official micro blog, or Weibo, covering 21 departments under the Beijing municipal government, is assembled in the online information room, launched on Thursday at

Of the 21 departments, 10 newly opened their Weibo accounts on Thursday, such as the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Statistics and the Beijing Municipal Commission of Education.

The other 11, such as the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau, already had Weibo accounts.

Wang Hui, director of the information office of Beijing municipal government, said more municipal departments will join the online room by opening their Weibo accounts.

All departments involved will release latest policies or regulations through this platform, where the public can have an interaction with concerned spokespersons on various issues, she said.

Wang said some departments have used Weibo to communicate with the public, but many others still followed the traditional way of releasing information, which was not timely and interactive enough.

And various government departments having separate Weibo accounts made it difficult for the public to get a whole picture of what the government was doing, she said.

"I once used my friend's Weibo to scan information online. I laughed after watching something interesting and also focused on something serious," Wang said. "But I found government information was hard to find if one didn't know the exact names of the departments or their Weibo accounts."

With that experience, Wang, as one of the six spokespersons who have opened their Weibo accounts, spent almost half a year communicating with relevant departments and pushed the official Weibo information room into existence.

Du Shaozhong, deputy head of the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau, also the first spokesman in the city to have used Weibo to talk with the public, said he could bear netizens' criticism.

"Public doubts and criticism are helpful for the departments to improve their work," Du said, adding officials should not be unnecessarily afraid of getting negative comments online.

Zhu Lijia, a professor of political studies with the Chinese Academy of Governance, said a Weibo information room was a convenient e-governmental platform that got information from many administrative departments together.

But he reminded that it only served as a supplement and could not replace news conferences and communication with the public.

Some netizens said they hoped the official Weibo platform would release more useful information instead of trivial stuff.

Dun Jifeng, 31, a university employee in Beijing, said he did not follow any government department Weibo accounts, because they were boring.

"I would be very interested in it if this official Weibo information room could offer something on the medical, educational and housing reforms. I'd like to follow it," he said.

Weibo has been gaining popularity rapidly. Latest figures from the General Administration of Press and Publication show that China now has about 480 million netizens, of whom about 200 million are Weibo users.

Qiu Bo contributed to this story.